Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Redo Part Deux

When you live in a house for over 28 years and that house is already 76 years old and you've renovated the entire house once...

it's time to start over. When pulling up the old carpet, I had totally forgotten, not even a smidgen of remembrance, of putting plywood down before the carpet went in 15 years ago. When Garrett was here the other day he reminded me that I had given them bright paint and said, "Go at it!" I think they were pretty reserved actually.

I painted this room last week, so I wouldn't have to worry about messing up our new carpet.

I kind of liked this closet 28 years ago and decided to leave it alone. That old timey wallpaper, faded and stained, had once been chosen by someone who cared for this house.

But it was time for it to go. All the furniture from the one room had to be moved to the other bedroom so both rooms were trashed.

But now the room is put back together and I'm about to start on the other room.

But it's not enough to just mess up the upstairs, we've finally started into the total gutting of our downstairs bath. That is the very first room we redid perhaps because it was the absolute worst room. We could see through the floor to the basement and the room was very tiny. I remember Garrett was around 2, Houston was at work and I took a sledge hammer to the wall between our bedroom and the bathroom. Garrett said I was gonna be in BIG trouble when Dad got home!

This vanity is an antique washstand that we converted. I did a mosaic on the counter top, using some of my granny's dishes that I had accidentally broken. This vanity doesn't look that bad in the photo, but it's really kinda icky now.

Houston and I went a-lookin' at fixtures, sinks, tubs and the like last week. Starting demo without a plan of how you want the bathroom to look, is really stupid so we had to go out and get some ideas, or narrow down the too many options. We found the sink we want. Purdy!

We really liked this one too, along with the industrial vanity, but thought it just a bit too stark. Although, isn't it just sleek and clean? Great for a loft space.

This might be our vanity, but not with that top. I found some Silestone that's 35% recycled glass and pieces of mirror that would make a fab top.

This is a side transom window that came from a front door surround. It lets in some light but we need to tile up to the ceiling so is has to go. We have our work cut out for us, literally. We have to cut through the 'poop pipe' as we call it, that old, heavy cast iron so we can move the vanity where the toilet is and the toilet where the vanity is. Can we just make up our minds?!!! Gotta go demo.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Our Beautiful Jenna

My dear niece, Jenna, left us last week, much too early. Only 26 years old, she suffered for many years from bulimia. That beautiful red haired girl was like a daughter to me. I come from a family of red heads, my mom has red hair and my three brothers have screaming red hair. When my mom came out to visit and first saw Jenna, she said, "Hey, they have our red haired baby girl!"

Being only 4 weeks apart in age, Jeanna and Garrett were basically raised as twins. Jenna's dad, George (who lives just 2 houses away from us) had Garrett on Mondays and Tuesdays and I had Jenna on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so for 4 days a week they bonded like brother and sister. George had a wonderful buggy stroller, old fashioned, with an umbrella attached to the rig, bobbing to and fro to keep the sun off their pale skin. He walked to the post office, down our rural road and what a sight to see. This large, bearded man, pushing two adorable infants in the blue flowered buggy, not worried about his manliness. People would ask him if the babies were brother and sister and he replied, 'Yes, born a month apart.'

When George was renovating his kitchen, he left this cupboard unfinished so they had a hidey place.
But it was not all cheery, happy, smiley times. They did all those things together but when one cried, the other one cried.

Jenna was the precocious one, walking at 10 months, running circles around Garrett,
grabbing for blueberries and Garrett just let it all happen with his laissezz-faire attitude. We all took endless videos of the two, as both families had new cameras at the time. I hadn't seen those movies in years and years. We've been watching them for just short periods of time because it's difficult not to start crying.

This is one of my favorite photos of the two. What a sweet thing to just lay there and look at books, without a care in the world. Just brings tears to my eyes.

The first day of school. Can you say cute, but it seems Garrett has a mullet going on?!

Jenna has an aunt who lives in China and when she was 4 (I think) her mom and family went to visit her. Jenna was, to say the least, an attraction. With her bright orange hair, her freckled pale skin, and her overall cuteness, I heard people crossed the street to simply get a look at her.

What a sweetie! That smile would just make you smile!

I'm not sure where we got these matching rain coats but I know they asked to put them on whenever there was a slight chance of rain. Those curls could not be contained!

The two of them were in the same class their entire lives. Graduation day was a happy event. The girls from Poolesville High School wore yellow and the boys wore black. We had a big double graduation party in our side field. Those cousins had grown up! Both of them got 'Best Hair' awards in their class.

Jenna was known for her amazing, fun packages that she sent to friends and her sisters, covered in cat stickers and glitter. She would sometimes just take a page from the calendar-a-day and write "I love you!" and send it on.

George quit his job at FDIC to be a stay at home dad, starting his own computer software business, writing code up in the attic and taking care of babies in the kitchen. Laura, Jenna's mom, went back to work and took every Friday off to care for Jenna. Unfortunately after a year, the marriage didn't last and George remained in the big yellow house with Jenna, and her mom, Laura seeing Jenna on Fridays and weekends. But a few years later, Laura and new husband, Tom, moved 2 houses down from George with Jenna's two beautiful sisters, Lisa and Kelly. George also remarried and a step brother and sister, Ben and Becky, joined that marriage. It made for happy times with extended family.

George and Jenna were inseparable, showing up for family picnics, our weekly volleyball games, grocery shopping and other errands. George is the most giving, gentle and loving human being I know. He has given his unconditional love and his whole being to his daughter and it breaks by heart that he has lost his only child.

Jenna met Ben 7 years ago at college at the University of Maryland. They fell immediately in love and just before Thanksgiving in 2009, they married. Ben is a gentle soul and was Jenna's soul mate and in their short time together, they shared immense love. Thank goodness they had their time together.

I will miss those adorable cheeks, those bright red curls, and her ready smile.

There was a small gathering on Jenna's mother's family property last Friday, attended by family, friends and loved ones, including Jenna's two sisters, a step sister and brother, step dad and many aunts and uncles. Some of her ashes were buried near the pond which she enjoyed through her childhood. We will be having a 'Celebration of Jenna's Life' this Saturday in Poolesville to honor her wonderful life.

On Friday, Jenna had just gotten a job to help girls with eating disorders. But on Saturday, she succumbed to this prolific disease. A foundation has been set up to educate and bring awareness to young girls during the high school years.

Jenna, we will miss your sparkle, your cheerfullness, your loving, giving self, and how you spread the love to so many. You touched so many lives and I will keep you in my heart forever, my beautiful red-headed daughter/niece.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Grab a Sunbeam

Trapper has figured out the perfect place to lie. He seemed to get almost every inch of him in the sunbeam and was peacefully snoring away. He sleeps on his giant pillow bed at night but I have to throw it outside or under our bed during the day because he picks it up and shakes it or tries to double it over and hump it, either action I don't approve of. But when he's like this, I just think he's the cutest thing. He didn't leave room for me though.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Year, New Fear

So you don't think that I've spent the whole entire holiday sitting around eating, knitting, reading, surfing the net and being a total sedentary slug, I'll show you some photos of us hiking. OK, I did spend countless hours doing all those lazy things with other lazy people in my house, but I had to keep them company! Plus it was colder than chickens-legs-in-the-snow outside and already spent my youth in below 0 temps and have paid my dues to the cold goddess so I deserve to stay cuddled up on the couch under a blankie when it dips below 26.

But I have a fear that I could turn into a true couch potato, encased in a camouflage Snuggly, with my fat cells multiplying and dividing with rapid speed. I do not want to be on the same trajectory as my puppy, Trapper. He is gaining 2 lbs a week. Nosirreebob, I think I've only gained 1 lb a week!

So we rounded up the pup and took off for Sugarloaf for a romp around the mountain.

Some very thoughtful people or wood elves hung hand made Christmas ornaments from tree branches, bringing a festive atmosphere to the woods.

Our son, Forrest, is home from Montana for a bit and his girlfriend came for a visit. We spent a couple days in Cumberland and got off our butts long enough to hike up to Lover's Leap. Great views, warm sun, and no lovers leaping (thankfully).

For some odd reason, there is an old plastics factory at the top of this mountain. It has 60's styling with this Jetson type wall of gold. So quirky.

So now I feel a little bit better. Got home from the hike and devoured a couple slices of pizza (homemade) and cheesecake and am back on the couch! Tomorrow's another day. Hope you all have a fun filled new year. Maybe I'll see you on the trail!